Outlet business set to satisfy consumer tastes

by Carmen To

Annie Wong, general manager, M.O.D
Photo: CY Leung

Quality and branded products at reasonable prices create new market niche

AS the region's undisputed shoppers' paradise, Hong Kong was the logical choice for M.O.D, an offshoot of King Fook Holdings Ltd, to open a new upbeat fashion outlet.

In operation for only two months, M.O.D has already vindicated the King Fook Group's foresight in identifying a particular niche amid burgeoning market potential. This has been done by establishing a unique platform to supply quality fashion while tracking the latest consumer trends.

The influx of mainland and overseas tourists has seen a sharp rise in the demand for branded clothing and accessories. Thus, M.O.D's expertise is reflected in its ability to satisfy this growing demand for branded and stylish garments that bear reasonable price tags.

Foreseeing the need for long operating hours to satisfy customer demand, the outlet remains open until midnight except on Friday and Saturday, it will open until two in the morning. This way, M.O.D's attentive staff can cater to regular passing trade as well as late-night shoppers who come by after work to relax, browse and buy or, following a night out at the cinema, drop in to choose whatever takes their fancy.

Imported brands, mainly from Italy, include D&G, Armani Jeans, Burberry, Chloe, Dries van Noten; Just Cavalli and Ermanno Scervino are some of the well-known names available at M.O.D.

"This is a downtown designer outlet with high accessibility. We want to give customers a unique shopping experience by creating a spacious and comfortable environment where they can take their time and check their fittings before making up their mind about what suits them best," Annie Wong, general manager, M.O.D says.

"We offer coffee and tea for customers, who always appreciate the attention. And our quality brands are competitively priced. For instance, we offer some products at discounts of between 30 to 70 per cent."

Market touch

With 10 years' experience in fashion marketing, Ms Wong has gained a rare insight into the fashion outlet business, which is why M.O.D came into being. Though, this is not yet a big-scale business. She is wooing a market that is increasingly China-oriented. "We see that many mainland tourists are seeking branded products, although the majority of them are quite budget-conscious. With this in mind, we thought we could develop a healthy business that would fit their needs," she says. "However, we don't only target tourists. We are working hard to serve people from all walks of life."

Ms Wong notes that she would like to see M.O.D spread its wings outside Hong Kong. "We will scout out more international brands from Europe and the US and try to generate a culture of fashion among our customers. We will also show them products of quality that are not necessarily synonymous with the term 'expensive'. What we have done with M.O.D is to create a venue that is comfortable and spacious so that our customers can revel in the joy of shopping at this flagship store without feeling pushed for time or under pressure to buy."

Regarding staff, Ms Wong says, "It is crucial that they have a passion for fashion. Other than that, we are looking for talents with an elegance of style, good fashion sense and a grasp of street wear, casual wear and, above all, what I call 'flair-wear'. They should also be good team players and willing to work irregular hours. We treat everyone as a member of one big family working towards the same goal, which is to make sure that we always satisfy our customers' needs as well as meeting our sales targets."

She also emphasises the importance of fashion business awareness. "To back up quality service, our staff must equip themselves with product knowledge such as special features and brand history for each label. We will help train them in customer service skills and sales techniques, but they must be proactive in following up on the customer's needs and demands."

New trends

  • Strategically located designer outlet providing branded products at affordable prices
  • A small-scale business set to further explore the China market and seek opportunities for expansion outside Hong Kong
  • Targeted consumers from all walks of life and not solely mainland tourists
  • Fashion sense and awareness the key qualities that will spell success in the business

Taken from Career Times 27 October 2006
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